It was my paramour’s birthday last week and so something special was absolutely required.
When I asked what he fancied, two things popped up: passionfruit and lemon meringue pie.
And so the cogs got working: let’s make the leap and replace the lemon by passionfruit!
My plan was forming!
I recently bought some quality pistachio paste while in France and as it’s another favourite of my sweetheart, I wondered if I could include it in my dessert. A bit of internet research led me to Chefnini’s blog – and so pistachio shortcrust pastry had to come into play!
I replaced the 50g of fresh pistachio by 30g of paste and it worked a treat.
For the last piece of the puzzle, I was also reminded of my most eye-popping macaron moment: a passionfruit shell with chocolate ganache from patisserie Ines in Marseille (if ever there, it’s on rue du Paradis, don’t miss out!!). I’m not big on mixing fruit and chocolate, but these two are really made for each other. I recently fell in love with Heston’s two ingredients chocolate mousse and decided that a layer just under the passionfruit curd would cut the acidity and add richness. So it was. I was worried it might be a bit thick but it worked a treat. Used 100g valrhona dark choc and 100g water. That was enough.
As for the passionfruit curd itself, I struggled with finding a suitable recipe, in the end went with 250g sugar, 3 whole eggs, 140g butter and 200g passionfruit purée.
I didn’t fancy spending ages scooping out passionfruits so went for a ready-made purée and it was fab.
I didn’t want to add cornflour but as a result the curd was a little too wobbly – it held, but as I took the cake on the bus, my meringue topping started going south! So next time, this will either stay at home or go sturdier.
The curd itself is PURE gorgeousness…
For the meringue, I made a classic swiss meringue, beating 200g egg whites with as much sugar on heat, then whisking like a fury (well, trusty kitchenaid did that for me), then piped it onto the curd before using a blowtorch to give it a bit of extra colour and just a hint of caramelisation.
All in all, the taste of the tart was truly outstanding, sweet, crunchy and nutty from the crust, rounded by the chocolate and passionfruit singing with sunshiny extravagance.
Only issue was the consistency of the curd and I was a little short on meringue mixture at the end, so didn’t quite achieve the look I was after – see Ottolenghi’s lemon tartelettes for true perfection.
I will definitely revisit this recipe, it’s my very first sweet tart and I’m pretty chuffed with the result, and so was my birthday boy and friends…